49 million Instagram influencers hacked. (Are there really that many?)

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Somebody posted a database of 49 million Instagram influencers where anyone could see it. This event says more about the stupidity of the term “influencer” than it does about breaches and leaks. According to TechCrunch, the database originated with Mumbai-based Chtrbox, a marketing firm that pays influencers to post things. Each record included the number … Continued

The IAB’s incoherent position on “Do-Not-Track”

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The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an industry group for advertisers and publishers, understands that data privacy regulation may actually happen. Rather than oppose it, they’re fine with it . . . so long as the government does things their way. Today, I deconstruct a statement by IAB executives Randall Rothenberg and Dave Grimaldi on regulation. … Continued

Free advice: how to give it, and how to take it

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I give lots of free advice. So do other people. If you’re going to ask me (or anyone) for help, I thought you might want to know how that works. How I give free advice Here’s a little peek into my business. People hear about my work with authors from my blog, from other authors, … Continued

Lora DiCarlo sex toy vindicated — but the CES apology is an anticlimax

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Back in January, I was ecstatic to describe how Lora DiCarlo, maker of the innovative Osé sex toy, responded to the abrupt and unexplained withdrawal of its CES (Consumer Electronics Show) innovation award. Four months later, the Consumer Technology Association has reinstated the award. But did they cop to being sexist prudes? Let’s take a … Continued

The McGraw-Hill Cengage Learning merger — and the perils of dog food marketing

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Two competing textbook publishers, McGraw-Hill and Cengage Learning, have proposed to merge. Reducing competition in markets fueled by predatory pricing is a bad idea. But why are textbooks so expensive? When I worked in the textbook publishing industry, the CEO of my startup publisher told me that what we did was “dog food marketing.” When … Continued

There are six PR people for every reporter. So change your strategy.

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Bloomberg reports that, according to the U.S. Census, as of 2018, there are 6.4 PR people for every journalist. Reporters will tell you what that means for their inboxes. Thousands of pitches falling on the floor. Constant pestering. And waste. So much waste. You can lament this trend (and the loss of media is a … Continued

Beware marketing thought leaders bearing fashionable truths

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I just came back from a conference full of marketers. Marketing conferences challenge the mind — but not necessarily in the way that they should. There are the talks that are intended to inspire. They are about being true to yourself and your brand, or the power of outstanding customer experience to inspire people. They … Continued